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On the Application of a Theory for Mobile Systems to Business Process Management

This thesis investigates the application of a theory for mobile systems-the π-calculus-to business process management (BPM). BPM provides concepts and technologies for capturing, analyzing, deploying, running, monitoring, and mining business processes. With the arrival of service-oriented architectures (SOA), a core realization strategy for BPM, the focus shifts from static process descriptions enacted by central engines within closed environments to agile interactions that are executed in distributed environments like the Internet. The π-calculus provides a theory for describing these kinds of systems.

In contrast to established formal foundations for BPM, the π-calculus inherently supports link passing mobility. Link passing mobility denotes the movement of links in an abstract space of linked processes. Brought forward to the Internet, links denote uniform resource locators (URL) that are passed between different entities. Due to this capability, a core feature of SOAs, dynamic binding, can be represented formally. Dynamic binding is a key concept required to represent agile interactions, where business processes are dynamically composed out of given services. Besides supporting dynamic binding, a formal foundation for BPM has to provide means to support state-of-the-art techniques of BPM. Therefore we investigate the capabilities of the π-calculus for representing data, processes, and interactions based on common patterns. By providing formal interpretations of these patterns, models of processes and interactions among them can be created. Since the models provide an unambiguous semantics, they can be used for specification and analysis. Regarding analysis, we develop techniques using bisimulation equivalences for proving the correctness of the models. Furthermore, a link to graphical representations is given, where a notation for representing dynamic binding in a graphical manner is introduced.

downloadable thesis (pdf format)